tv Book Discussion on Hard Choices CSPAN August 15, 2014 8:00pm-9:12pm EDT
>> tonight on booktv, hillary clinton discusses her book, hard choices. ben shapiro lays out a criminal case against the president in the people vs. barack obama, and then green green walled discusses nsa surveillance in his book "no place to hide." >> in her new book, "hard choices"" hillary clinton talks about her time as secretary of state in the obama administration. this is an hour. >> our guest of honor is known primarily, of course, for her political role as first lady, u.s. senator from new york, and the 67th secretary of state. but she is also just published her fifth book, and has several previous best sellers to her
name. so, added to the list of credits after hillary rodham clinton should certainly be, accomplished author. "hard choices" her memoir about her fourees as secretary of state. recounts how she came to accept the nomination offered by her former political rival. the book reveals some of the less wonkish, less battle hardded inside of her not commonly glitched in public. humorous, self-deb prick indicating -- deprecating, although hillary credits a small team of people for helping with the book she carved out months to write and rewrite it herself. it also clearly leaves room for future chapters in one more
memoir some day. this evening -- [applause] this event is special because i get to introduce the main speaker and also my wife, who will be up here in conversation with hillary. the two of them good back together to the early days of the clinton administration and she haciendas served with hillary as white house and state department speech writer, communications director to the first lady, campaign adviser and collaborator on hillary's white house memoir, "living history." these days when hillary and alyssa talk i think they discuss the latest great novel, mystery,
or biography they're reading. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming hillary rodham clinton and elisa. [applause] thank you so much. thank you so much. >> well. that was very nice. it is great to have you. thank you so much. >> thank you. and thanks to you and brad for running such a great book store. thank you. politics and prose. >> speaking of books, you have
had this out for four days now. >> that's right, four, i guess. >> probably lost count because it's one of these cases that was more like when you were secretary. you started your book tour, traveling all over the place, doing interviews, keeping a frenetic pace. but i have to ask you, from the first time i read this book -- and i've read it several times -- i was struck by a kind of light heard -- light heart edness. it deals with serious issues but there's a lighter side. so i'm wondering, as i watched you, you seem like you're having a good time and you have had some tough interviews. >> i am having a good time, in part due to the enthusiasm that i have experienced as i've traveled around in these last couple of days. it's a great feeling to have written a book about four years
that were consequential, but for me were a personal journey and a very heavy responsibility. and what i tried to do in the book was to write so it that i could give you, the readers, a bit of a peek behind the curtain, but a the headlines certainly tell some of the story but not all of the story. and it's more difficult to even get information about the so-called trend line. i wanted to combine both, and the hardest part for me about writing this book was that it was, believe it another nor, three times longer when i first finished it. i wanted to put every funny story, every bizarre meal. i mean, whatever i could remember and wanted to share. and the publisher did say, you have to cut two-thirds of this book. and so i worked hard to keep the combination of seriousness, because obviously there's a lot
of that, but also the human side. not just me but what i saw and learned as i traveled around the world. >> you have never been shy about your opinions but seems to me you're pretty free to speak your mind these days. >> i think that's true. from some of the reactions i've had the last few days. [laughter] >> i say in the book that maybe it's just the wonderful wealth of experience i've now had. maybe it's because i am totally done with being really careful about what to say because somebody might think this instead of that. it just gets too exhausting and frustrating and it just seems a whole lot easier to just put it out there and hope people get used to it. whether you agree with it or not to know exactly where i'm coming from, what i think, what i feel.
i really believe that's missing in our -- both our government dialogue and of course many of you probably are somehow associated in some way with our government, and certainly in our political dialogue. there's so many big issues, and i talk about some of them. both internationally and nationally, and i don't think we gain by either shouting matches or finger-pointing or biting one's tongue. we need to have an open, straightforward conversation, and maybe i'm trying to model that. i don't know. but that's how it feels to me and feels a little bit liberating, to be honest and it's great to watch. there are occasions when i think people gulp a little, including myself, to be fair. but i really want to share the experiences i've had. i came to this job as i write in
the book in quite an unusual way. and i was incredibly surprised when the president asked me to serve, and slightly less surprised when i finally agreed to. and then it was just from the very first moment, a mad dash because we inherited a pretty serious agenda of problems and challenges. so, the perspective i've gained i think has encouraged me even more to speak my mind and contribute what i can to whatever debate is occurring. >> host: let's talk about actual process of writing the book. i remember from the last book, you were -- you had a day job. you were in the senate and this is really true, honest to goodness truth. i was working with you on the book you did a lot of work on the book between midnight and 3:00 a.m. and i remember having routine meetings with you around thunder dining room table at 3. a we did that for a few months to get it finished.
since then you carved out more time to focus on it, and you had a great team but you are not somebody who has ever taken a draft, be it's book, speech, chapter, and just said, oh, great, this looks good, let put it between a cover or publish ill right now, it's fine. you have always slaved over your writing. you write, rewrite. you still write in long hand on a legal pad. >> guest: i do. >> host: and anybody who has ever been with somebody who is writing a book knows it's like watching someone bo through labor. it's an incredibly painful process but great joy at the end. so on the scale of pain and joy, what was the process of writing this book for now sunny should preface what i say by making clear lissa has been my partner in some of the most important writing and speaking have done, going back to white house years when she was a speech writer at the white house, and is a point out in the chapter of -- called
"unfinished business" about women's rights and lgbt rights and other human rights, lisa was my partner in the women's speech in beijing. fast forward, she was also my partner in the living history autobiography. and what she is describing is absolutely true, and it was incredibly stressful because i did have this day job that i loved, but i had said, and signed a contract, so i was obligated to produce a book. so i would come home and lissa, despite her many responsibilities, including her wonderful family, would be around that dining room with me as we struggled over the chapters in "living history." this was different in that i left the state department, i had for the first time in many years much more freedom and control over my own schedule. i have a little third floor
attic study in the old farmhouse that we live in, in new york, and i would good up there early in the morning and i would make as many detours is a possibly could. it was always time for something else. it was time to walk the dog, it was time to go down and get more water you have to be well-high traited when you try to write. i okay. up with a million reasons -- oh, and then, of course, i read you should not sit for more than an hour. so, that became my favorite excuse. but it was a great experience, despite how difficult it was. it was difficult because there was a mass of material that we were trying to condense. it was also hard to relive some of what happened, and also to make sense in retrospect about what had occurred.
i had a great team of researchers and advisers and people who would take my scribbly hand writing and translate and it come back with suggestions. it was a terrific process in that way. but even though i had more free time to do it, i found it equally intense because of something that, once you start writing a book and you're putting yourself into it -- in my case i had sort of an idea there might be some people who would read every word, looking for something i said that might not be 1,000 percent true or accurate. so it was painful, and i had a great backup with the researchers who helped me. so, i enjoyed it. but if i were to put it on a scale, some days were off the charts wonderful and some days were not even on the charts
terrible, because it was hard to write. and then, of course, i wanted to make sure that it was a fair reflection of what i experienced and what i learned, and i had to at some point let it go and hold my breath, and i am pleased with the way it couple out. >> host: reviews have been really good. >> guest: much to my amazement. >> host: it's a hard book to write. four years of your life and involves public policy. you may or may not be done withure public life and the are a lot of constraints. >> guest: when i finally got the near complete manuscript, i did impose upon lissa because she is a great reader and writer, and i did hold my breath that entire weekend, because she has never minced words. she will come and say, i don't think this works. or that's not what you mean to say, or this really could be
restructured. gently but clearly critical. and she came back and she had some very good suggestions, but she also had some very positive reinforcing reactions, and i have to say, that helped me bring a little better. i was not sleeping much toward the end because i was so worried that somehow i may have totally missed the point of what i was trying to communicate. and it's an odd combination of personal, particularly in the beginning when i talk about the creation of this team of rivals, with the president, and then pretty wonky and dense, and there were some chapters i felt compelled to include, like a chapter about economic challenges we face abroad and how that affects us here at home and what it means to be competing you're an american in business or american worker, against state capitalism. and i know some eyes in the editing process and the
publishers rolled at bit, like, really? i said i really need to talk about that. one of my primary jobs when i became secretary, given where we were economically, was to try to help with the work the president and the secretary of treasury and others were doing to restore confidence in our economy as well as in our political and foreign policy agenda. so it was a complicated book. >> host: you're nice to have let me read it toward the end, and this is honest truth. i loved it from the first read, obviously any manuscript can be improved on but i liked it because it's not that wonky. there were some denser portions, but you have to read it, it's fascinating, entertaining, terrific book, and i think you come through in a way that maybe not as much as some of the earlier books, an earlier time of your life and career, and i think you said you feel more liberated now, and i think that comes through. but we dos' should talk about
the substance, and you said a minute ago when you assumed the secretaryship, you and president obama came into a raft of problems. clearly there wases a perception, not only in this country but around the world, that our role and our influence was diminishing. our economy was sputtering at best. some of our key alliances were fraying or frayed. iran was make nothing boneses about acquiring or build a nuclear weapon, china on to the rise and then the ongoing challenges of climate change and poverty and human rights, and so i'm wondering if being secretary of state isn't somewhat of an enter size in triage. >> guest: that's an interesting way to put it, because i think it's a multileveled job all at the same time. there are the crises that require immediate attention,
and, yes, the intensive care unit. you have to put everybody together, both physically or virtually. you have to be building those alliances and tending to those partnerships in the midst of a crisis in order to deal with the crisis. then there are the emergencies but not as serious as the ones in the intensive care unit. you have a big -- if you continue with this metaphor -- a big emergency room with all kinds of injuries, people who are there representing countries, representing individuals, nonstate actors and the like, all of whom need tending. they're not going awayment they're expecting the united states to show up and to make a move however we define that. and then there's the longer term chronic problems. the ward is filled with people who are struggling.
i saw my role primarily to do all of could to help restore american leadership. and that meant several things to me. it certainly meant that i had to figure out how to deal with the emergencies and how to tend to what were a broad array of complaints about our country from the prior eight years. it was not just iraq. it was not just the war on terror and the abuses that came to light. it was not just the economic collapse, although that's a trifecta that was waiting on our doorstep. it was the feeling that somehow america had violated our own values, the rules that we had helped to construct and pushed for compliance in how countries were supposed to be behaving, whether it was conventions we
signed against torture or antiballistic missile treaties or whatever it might be and that there was a sense of absence in some parts of the world. that was the message that came through to me when i began making a series of phone calls to leaders, and those whom i called in asia were very clear that they believed america had abandoned our traditional role as a pacific power, and wondered whether the obama administration would re-assert our presence in asia. in europe we were struggling with the neglect testify reactions -- -- negative reactions to iraq, the war on terror, the economic collapse, and also the attitude toward europe, old newspaper versus new europe, and a sense of somehow america no longer valued this critical relationship across the atlantic. and there was so much bubbling below the surface, we came into office as one war in gaza was
ending, a new government in israel being formed. we had a very serious set of decisions facing the president and the national security council on what to do about afghanistan, since it appeared they taliban had regained momentum and the efforts to try to create some stability that would give a stronger base for the afghans themselves to defend themselves, govern themselves, was eroding. it was a long list, and so triage is a good description. and it required several things simultaneously as well in responding to that analysis. one, it required my presence. when the president asked me to serve as secretary of state, he said, i'm going to have to focus the vast majority of my time and attention on the economic crisis, because as bad as it is, it could get a lot worse. and he said, we have to
demonstrate that america is no longer going to be leading with our military. of course we will maintain the strength of our military but we need to demonstrate more clearly our values and that we can form partnerships and we can mobilize for common action, and that is why i'm asking you because i know you can get on that airplane and start traveling the world. and it was a bit of a division of labor, if you will, which i totally understood, and eventually agreed to carry. and it was quite striking to me. i made that decision, which i explain in the book to somewhat break tradition, go to asia in february of 2009, because half of that trip was just showing up. demonstrating that, yes, we had treaty alliances, we had interests, political, strategic, economic. we were no longer going to be absent, and then we worked to
pivot in a very public way to send an unequivocal message that the united states would be part of asia's future, where so much of the consequential decisionmaking for the world will be made. but i quickly turned around and went back to europe in march because i wanted to re-assert our relationship. i quote this old frowny girl scout song, make new friend keep the old, one is sill very the other is gold. you may remember that. i wanted it to be a real statement of our commitment to our european partners, and there was so much going on there as well, because right before president obama took office, the russian gas utility cut off gas, again -- they had done it before in 2006 -- and it became clear to me that the europeans were going to have to take a hard
look at how dependent they wanted to be on a single source for their energy. sounds familiar. and from that very first meeting we began talking about what could be done to find al earntives. so it -- find alternatives. so it was a multitasking of the highest order to try to be present, reach out, come up with new ideas and make clear that america's presence and leadership was going to be front and center once again, and we would be listening, not just talking, looking to work multilaterally, not just ewan unilaterally, and we would use the three d's, not just defendant bus diplomacy--- not just defense but diplomacy and development to pursue our interests and protect our security. >> host: reading the book, one quote you often use came to mind. and that is politics is the
strong and slow boring of hardboards. >> guest: yes. >> host: the book -- what comes through the book is the day-to-day experience of being secretary of state is not just whates the most visible, the most sexiest issues. there's a lot of cultivation and you mentioned the asia trip. you laid some important groundwork in indonesia that paid off in burma with democratic reforms there and your meeting with suu kyi. and people wonder, why it she having a bilateral riff at the foreign minister of some country that we don't know we it is on the map. and so i think that really does come through in the book. >> i wanted that to come through because one of the virtues i think we americans need to cultivate is patient, and that
is true probably in our lives but it's particularly true in our diplomacy, because so much of what still matters in the world is based on building relationships and looking for areas where you can establish some level of trust. and one of the examples in the book, which was quite dramatic, actually, is how we were able to navigate through a very difficult crisis over a blind dissident in china, and not endanger the substance of the framework for the relationship we'd been building with china. when i came in, i knew from my time in the senate that we'd had very extensive economic discussions with china about currency, about trade.
and those had been carried out primarily by the treasury department. but there were so many strategic issues that maybe we would deal with in a one-off way, but we could see that the chinese were much more comfortable talking about all of the concerns around the economy than they were on political or strategic issues. so one of the first things i did was to propose within the administration that we combine the economic and create the strategic dialogue that would embody all of the various individual discussions we had had with chinese counterparts. tim geithner agreed. the white house signed off on it. i presented it to the chinese when i was there that first trip. they responded to it, and that meant we put together teams from our government and theirs, to talk about everything from sanitary hygiene standards for
food and produce or safety of toys, to environmental, clean energy, joint projects, to student exchanges. we put it all out there to build a much more comprehensive connection between our two governments that i hoped would not just last for one president but be part of building a framework into the future. and that what we did. we had intense meetings throughout the year, then we would have an annual strategic and economic dialogue, rotating between washington and beijing. i spent a lot of time with my counterpart and the foreign minister and we had lots of in-depth discussions. so fast-forward to the night i'm home here in washington, and the phone rings, and i'm told that the blind dissident has escaped
from house arrest and is trying to make it to the u.s. embassy in beijing for safety and refuge and also to be given medical -- emergency medical treatment for the foot he injured. the question was, i would direct our embassy staff to go out, meet him, pick him up and bring him in. now, by any weighing of values and interests you he can see why i called this book "hard choices." on the one hand we had this comprehensive relationship. we were making progress in a number of areas. others were stalled but we had developed very candid discussions which in and of itself was a step forward. and i was supposed to be leaving in just a few days for the annual meeting in beijing. and that had been the cornerstone of our efforts to develop a more strategic, deeper
understanding with china. yet we had this man, this human rights activist, who thought to himself, i'm being unjustly imprisoned in my house. i need to escape and where would i go? the one places in the world where he thought the values of freedom and would be embodied, the united states of america, and there wases a weighing and i had to do it in a short period of time, and i concluded we would go out and pick him up and take him to the embassy because after all, at the end of the day, believe our strongest position, our best argument for who we are as a americans and what we stand for, are the values that we have stood on and exemplified and struggled to fulfill from the very beginning.
it was a consequential choice. there were some who disagreed with it. who were unhappy i had made it, but i felt comfortable throughout the difficult period of negotiations that ensued, because i thought tend of the day, it was the right decision to make. well, we were able to negotiate with the chinese over the outcome with respect to mr. shen and his family. ... mily. we also kind of has strategic and economic dialogue. but we would not have been able to do that had we not in best at the time and the patience and developing those relationships. and it is some pain that i have to be reminded my colleagues in government or elsewhere, we
often as american show up with an agenda. here's a way to, then they ought to do that and then we're out of there. that still is not the way most people in the let's get this done and we are out of here. that still is not the way most people in the world behave. they want to take your measure. they want to have a meal. maybe a cup of tea, talk about other things. i remember going into a meeting with the king of saudi arabia, king abdulah and we were in a huge meeting room. i spent about 15 minutes talking with him and talking with the foreign minister of prince faisal about camels. [laughter] i describe it in the book because i had driven up from the airport with the foreign minister and we had seen all these camels that were out in
the desert as we drove by to the camp of the king. the foreign minister was telling me how much he disliked camels and i was saying my goodness that's like an australian and not liking kangaroos. that's just so -- so hard to imagine that we were having a bit of the banter and back and forth and we got to the meeting and it was just this very large formal setting. i turned to the king and i said your majesty the foreign minister says he doesn't like camels. he says what is wrong with him? we start having this conversation so when we got to the real meat of it over lunch where just the king and i could hear one another and he had a huge television set in the middle of this hollow square table that was blaring away so nobody could hear what we could say to each other, then we could get down to business because we have actually interacted as two people, not to officials in a hurry. i try to make the point over and
over in the book that we just have to invest more time and that takes patience and it takes people willing to do that, to build those relationships but i don't think we can achieve our goals without that. >> by the way the chen story is a cloak and dagger life imitates art kind of stories and it's amazing when you read it. it's likely can't possibly possibly have happened the way it did but i also want to say you have improved dramatically in your pronunciation of -- i was impressed you use both names of the chinese leader not just the easy one syllable one. >> lissa traveled with me as first lady and at the beginning of my time the state department is ahead of mike speechwriters at the state department and it is true. i have absolutely no ear for language. it's a great regret. i took latin when i was in high
school and i think it has helped me with my book at the larry or at least i hope it did because it took four years of effort. and then i took french when i went to wellesley. at the -- and we headed to your language requirement and i was enjoying it. i wasn't good at it but i was learning and i love the literature part. i had gotten it down for writing critiques of french literature. i could say things like love is hate as as love in the press are for -- professor would say magnificent. when i had to go around to talk about what i would take for my junior year and i went to see my french professor. well i'm thinking about this course or that course and she looked at me and she said mademoiselle your talents lie elsewhere. [laughter] >> which is pretty good now. i don't want to spend a lot of time on this because there are so many things to talk about given that it's been kind of a mess a few days in iraq and i wonder if he can get your quick reaction to that.
>> let me just back up and start where we were when president obama took office. president bush has established a timetable for american withdrawal in 2011 as i recall. i must be iraqis agreed to what is called a status of forces agreement that gives the necessary protections to american soldiers. there was a great deal of work done to try to figure out with the iraqi iraqi's blood is any follow on american force would be necessary and accepted. they needed intelligence. they needed trainers. they needed the kind of leadership skills inculcated in the reconstituted iraqi army after it had been dissolved in the bush administration. it came down to the fact that maliki would not present a
status of forces agreement to his parliament, and that made the decision inevitable. there was not going to be an agreement for american troops to stay, even to perform limited noncombat functions. the underlying problem so here is not one of military preparedness and security although we have seen neither is present in the current conflict in iraq. the problem is the conception of leadership and governance that maliki brought to the job of prime ministership. he would not commit to an inclusive government. he would not share power except with a very, very small circle. he was often quick to attack even investigate the charge with
crimes those who politically disagreed with him and as a result the inclusive governing structure that reached out to the various elements, particularly the sunnis in iraq to try to overcome, yes very deeply felt historic differences, but necessary changes if there were to be stability in iraq never happened. and the result of that failure at the governance level combined with the extraordinary success of islamist extremist groups in syria and in particular the one now known as isis, the islamic state of iraq and syria, has made this latest crisis
especially dangerous. you don't have a government that can inspire loyalty, even among its army and certainly not among its disparate groups and you have well-trained, very savvy fighters coming out of syria, coming out of iraq, often aided and abetted, perhaps we are learning by former officers in the disbanded saddam hussein iraqi army and it's a recipe for a horrendous conflict. they request that maliki is making to the president to provide support i know are being carefully considered but i think that is also imperative that
maliki be presented with a set of conditions if you were even to discuss seriously any kind of military support for the fight against the jihadist. and that's a delicate and difficult task for our government because we certainly don't want to fight their fight, because he would be fighting for dysfunctional, unrepresentative authoritarian government and there is no reason on earth that i know of that we would never sacrifice a single american life for that. [applause] it is a however serious potential crisis with broad regional and even global
consequences. the capture of the turkish diplomats, the threat to all the embassies in baghdad, most particularly ours, the discipline of the peshmerga, the kurdish forces as they both protect kurdish areas but also advanced to take over some of the cities, particularly kirkuk that they have always believed should be bears, what role will iran play. if iran sends an quds force troops to assist maliki the way that they have sent in both quds force advisers and hezbollah troops to support assad, then boy we are looking at a potential war in the middle east that is going to cross borders
and potentially threaten a larger region and beyond. the latest figures i have seen is that there are more than a thousand fighters on behalf of extremist groups in syria coming from just europe and with open borders, no visa restrictions. somebody who grew up in france or germany or britain or the netherlands or wherever will be able to come home and will be able to travel so this has implications far beyond what if anything we think we can and should do to try to stave off a total collapse of the maliki government. i would just add one other note. if you look at where we are in the region, the conflict in syria which right now is still a
stalemate that assad is controlling large parts of the countries but there are hundreds of thousands of refugees in jordan, lebanon, turkey, iraq and you have the tensions that are pervasive throughout the region being really set on fire in iraq right now. it could draw in other countries because of attacks or because of the decision on the part of other governments that they have to defend either the sunnis or defend the shia oracle after the kurds. lots of competing interests and my chapter about syria is called a wicked problem and now it's gotten more wicked because of the spillover into iraq. >> on a lighter note, when i
used to come back from trips overseas with you i would often have stories for my kids that involved funny, crazy weird things that happened, some of which you didn't know about. and in fact my kids often said mom you need to write a book about all the things that happen that mrs. clinton never knew. i said well that would sort of defeat the purpose would me? i don't know if you ever knew about the purse that was left behind and various complications and logistics were done to retrieve it from i don't know where. a suitcase that ended up in a river. i don't know how many drafts of speeches we lost. i think there were some important ones that somehow had to be recovered at the last minute but this clearly continued here your tenure as secretary of state and you write about a lot of the sort of comedy. there were a lot of dark days obviously, benghazi being the most obvious that there were a lot of funny things that happen and i'm sure in retrospect they seem even funnier comedic
moments. of course there had to be a hair story so there's a hair story in bulgaria. there's a shoe coming off at an inopportune moment in france. there's a, you need to floss moment when president obama pulls you aside and point out that you have food in your teeth. [laughter] and then one of my favorites is a funny thing and i wonder if he will mention it a little bit. a funny thing happens when you're at the end of the trip and you're on a plane and everybody can finally relax. your staff turns on a movie. tell us about that. >> the first thing i would say is a choice with -- choice of movie was often really low grade. [laughter] i think that's because by the end of those troops which were very long, moving from timezone to timezone, everybody was exhausted. nobody wanted to thing. everybody just slumped back in their chairs and voted for the most mindless entertainment that was available on our plane.
but the movie about this by called breach. there's a scene in which the actor playing the character, what was his first name? robert something. anyway, he says you know we don't need any more women in pants like hillary clinton. [laughter] >> i love that story. >> the whole plane just burst into laughter. but lissa is right because there were always things going on while i am wading through briefing books that are 3 feet high or on the phone arguing with some foreign minister i'm about to see about something or consoling someone who has had a terrible incident in their
country. so i don't know half of the things that were going on, but we had a lot of misadventures. now one which is kind of consequential. it ended up being fine. [laughter] but you know we would also go on these trips and we had a great press corps in the state department. many really experienced journalist really experienced journalist who had covered the state department and had been stationed overseas. it was really a pleasure working with them because they were always asking very substantive questions about how does this compare with what secretary powell did or what would you think if we were to take madeleine albright? they really knew the whole landscape but they too would want to let down their hair so to speak. we are in lima peru and we are trying to, i'm trying to work. i had to go to the meeting of the organization of american
states, oas and i'm trying to finalize the conditions that are going to be imposed by the u.n. security council on iran and we come in with their two-part strategy engagement and pressure and we knew it was knew it wasn't enough just for united states be putting the pressure on. we need to get the international community and that meant primarily convincing russia which i think we succeeded in doing when a president and i and national security adviser jim jones told sergei laffer off and they security adviser in a three on three meeting that the iranians had built an underground facility and the russians didn't know it. i think that surprised them and made them much more amenable to going along with the security council. the chinese donated oil and gas from everywhere did not want to see that supply cut off so they took a lot more convincing. we were working and working. the chinese ambassador very able
diplomat, ambassador to the united states was covering the oas meeting in lima. i was trying to get a meeting with him to see if i could get him to sign off on the final language because he had been authorized to convey that back to beijing. he had meetings and finally we were worried we wouldn't get to the meeting. the press was having an piece goes sour happy hour. [laughter] and apparently piece go sours make you very happy. especially these that were made in lima. so we were looking for the ambassador to try to find a time. i went down to the bar in a hotel and we were trading stories and chatting each other up and i'm having a piece goes sour. pretty soon things are looking really positive and optimistic. [laughter] and then all of a sudden one of the foreign service officers
comes up to me and says madam secretary the chinese ambassador is here. aye, where? right there. oh mr. ambassador please come in. i taken to a back table and we pull out our papers and we are sitting there. marco endler, now a white house reporter for the times but then he was covering the state department, he sees me sitting with his chinese men and we are looking at papers. he comes over burying two big piece go sours. here is one for you madam secretary and here's one for you ambassador. here it is. you just have to be flexible and agile. >> sort of role in early and bigger with the with what was happening. >> i want to take a question from the audience and this is from theresa anderson. this is really a hardball. did you really autograph all these books? [laughter] [applause]
>> you know what? i really did. [applause] i really did. between the time that i finished the book and it went in and it was going to printing i had a three week period and they sent me nearly 21,000 pages, and so i started signing hillary rodham clinton. i thought this is going to take me until labor day. i talked to lissa and i talked to some other people and they said don't personalize it. just say hillary. that i can do. i sat in my breakfast room, i turned on the old movie channels because it was relaxing and just sat there and signed. the ones that you are getting have all been personally signed by me. [applause]
>> you mentioned beijing. beijing 1995, 20th anniversary this year. i want to tell a quick story and i want to ask you about this. you almost didn't go. you almost didn't go because the chinese had arrested a naturalized citizen saying he was an american spy. we didn't end up going and we worked really hard on the speech. i think i have told you this once but there was an amazing thing that happened to me personally, which was that i walked up to the cabin and we have gone from washington to hawaii and met up with the present of hawaii and then we flew to guam. we were on the last draft of the speech that have been closely held and i took it up to in the cabin. you obviously knew the speech inside out but we were finalizing it and i will never forget this. it was very corny but a experience for me. i gave you the speech and he
didn't say anything for mounted minis that i just want to push the envelope as far as i can on human rights and women's rights. [applause] and i was so struck by that. again this is the corny part. i was so proud to be an american and so proud to have a first lady who is going to go into what was kind of the diplomatic minefield at that point and make this assertion and he went on to say after that that women's issues and women's rights are the unfinished business of the world. i just wonder where you think things stand now. >> well lissa that speech which you worked so hard on an madeleine albright was with us and she provided great feedback. we were going to the drafts. it was so important to me personally because i thought the united states needed to lead on women's rights. this was the opportunity to do so at this international conference. and it was very important to set
forth an agenda. out of the conference despite all of the difficulties, 189 countries agreed on what was called a platform for action, the full participation of women and girls. i use that both as first lady and then a senator and certainly a secretary of state to refer to and to engage with leaders and civil societies all over the world to say your nations signed up for this. how far have you come? then when i left the state department, i went to work with my husband and my daughter at the clinton foundation and there were a lot of the important programs that my husband had established and that chelsea was hinged madeleine. i wanted to add three more in one of them was what what we called the no ceilings full participation project. what we are doing in partnership
with the gates foundation and many other partners, the u.n., is gathering all the data that we can find. i was just at the world bank two weeks ago with some important announcements that the bank was making with president jim can trying to put it all together in one place where we can measure the progress we have made but also make clear that gaps that still remain. it's been already a very meaningful experience for me, because we still have lots of countries with laws that bar women from many professions. we still have countries where they don't even record all the girls birth because it's just not that important. we have made progress under the millennium development goals on primary education and then we just drop off dramatically with secondary and higher education. we are doing better job of
combating maternal mortality but we still have hundreds of thousands of women die every year and on and on. what we want to be is a centerpiece for a robust discussion in the next year as we approach the 20th anniversary in 2015 about what we have achieved, what has worked in other countries and how much more we have to do. there is a divide. there are countries where laws still need to be changed, laws on the books need to be implemented, cultural and religious barriers to women's participation need to be questioned from within on and on. in the developed world, we also want to look at the disparities that still exist between the opportunities for women and girls versus men and boys. a lot of those are what we can call it internal barriers.
my friend sheryl sandberg in her book lean in writes about a lot of the research. the famous research of two resumes exactly the same, one is labeled by henry brown and one is by heidi brown and people are much more favorable for henry and raising questions about heidi. the same information, the same profile. these deep cultural psychological internal barriers that people have about women and girls and that women and girls have about themselves. that is a more difficult area to explore and to measure that we are trying to do that because you look at political participation in our country. it's certainly nowhere near ha half. we don't have half of the corporations or corporate officers held by women on and on. so i think it's going to be real food for thought for both
countries where there is so much work to be done to just end the oppression and the abuse and the dehumanizing of women and other countries like iran where we have made so much progress that we still have so much more we can do. >> no question. just flipping back for a second you were talking about maliki and how frustrating of a leader he is. you have traveled almost 1 million miles as secretary not to mention senator and first lady and the only foreign leaders you didn't need at this point has been kim jong-un, speaking of bad pronunciation. the question i want to ask but i'm going to put it out there but then we are going to go to another question because we are almost out of time is,, when he looked into vladimir vladimir putin's eyes. [laughter] do you see the soul of a man who cares deeply about his country or the soul of a kgb agent? [laughter] just asking.
[laughter] are we going to come back to that? >> fascinating. [laughter] he and i have exchanged a few verbal volleys going back to last several years. i guess the most recent was to call me weak but then quickly adding weakness is probably not so bad and a woman. yeah, me too. [laughter] so when i wrote about him, what i tried to do is demonstrate obviously that he is a very tough person who embodies a lot of hard choices. but the real sadness and i say that deliberately, is that his view of russia's greatness is
rooted in the past and not the future. think about how well-educated and how successful so many russian immigrants are in europe and the united states and elsewhere. i mean one of the cofounders of google. think of what could be happening in russia today if you had leadership that wasn't trying to extend a sphere of influence, dominate central asia, intimidate central and eastern europe, prevent countries like ukraine from making their own decisions, impose a view of russian greatness that is rooted in the past instead of working to create a modern economy, diversified beyond oil and gas, create more opportunities for people, but that's not his goal.
his goal is to as much as possible re-create the past. .. so-called reset done when medvedev was president and we were successful in the security council sanctions on iran getting a new s.t.a.r.t. treaty to limit nuclear weapons between us and restart inspections and transport important material and troops into afghanistan across russia. but when putin made his announcement he would be i think they both had on black leather jackets. >> poor medvedev, tried to expand russia's horizon, and went to silicon valley, and
putin says i will be president and he will be prime minister. and then they had parliamentary elections before the presidential election and they were filled with irrig -- irregularities and i criticized the elections but the russians filled the streets and putin attacked me for causing the protest. when i next saw him issue said, you know, mr. president, that's not the way it works. but he is a determined, relentless, pursuer of her vision, of a russia from the past. and it is -- the united states and the west have to make clear that whatever his vision is, it cannot upset the stability and order that was established in europe, first after the second world war, then after the collapse of the soviet union and it's going again take patience
but firmness to send that message unequivocally to him. so, it's a complicated situation and one that we have to watch very closely. >> host: there are lot of stories bat lot of leader e -- about a lot of leaders and the one of the most fun parts to learn what these peek of like at real -- these people are lake. we're actually just about out of time so we'll have one last question and i'll take it as an audience question but i want to ask a little setup to it. and that is that you acquired a new title during the four years as secretary, which was, mother of the bride. >> guest: true. >> host: you are about to acquire another new title. grandmother. [applause] >> host: you had -- you suffered through difficult losses, including especially of your mother, who many of us got to
know. she lived with you here in washington at the end of your life, she was adored by her staff. i was struck at her memorial you held at the number of chelsea's friends who spoke about her, your staff, everybody she ever came in contact now, and now you're going to be a grandmother and chelsea was so close to her grandmother. so you have a lot to weigh looking ahead, which gets to the last question, which it comes from tyler smith, via twitter, would says what do you want your legacy to be? >> for the state department or my life. >> host: what do you want your legacy to be. one way to think, you're going to be a grandmother and now know better than most people the world this child will be born into and you have to think about your life and caring for your
grandchild. so how do you balance all of that? >> well, i don't -- i don't think about a legacy. i think about my life because i've had quite an unpredictable life. and i thought a lot about that when i was writing the book. i could never, when i was growing up in parkridge, illinois, have imagined what i have had the great pleasure of experiencing, the challenges and difficulties along with the extraordinary experiences and opportunities. and i think that really is at the core of what i care most about. both from my own family, my future grandchild, and also for
our country. i want young people, particularly, to feel as though the future may not be totally clear to you, but it looks like it's full of promise for you. that you have the opportunity, because you are acquiring an education, because you're willing to work hard, to be given your definition of the american dream. and that is how i was raised. my mother, who did live with us during the last ten years of her life, was the product of a very abusive, neglectful home, but all along her much more difficult life, her childhood, she would encounter people who showed kindness and who were part of a broader community than
just the family that so let her down. and so she learned how to use her education, even though she only graduated from high school, she was incredibly intelligent and kept taking college courses into their 80s. she was supported by the community and really nurtured by her belief in what this country meant, and she instilled that in me, and everyone that she touched. but that meant that you had to take -- this is your responsibility and you had to have a good work ethic, but you were part of a community. it wasn't just either be an individual or a member of a community, it was be an individual within a community, and then the larger community of our country. so, what i hope is that my grandchild, when he or she comes into the word this fall, will
have that same view of what america means and why america matters. i had such a perspective from outside for those four years. i saw us once again using our innovation, and our energy, and our resilience, to come back from a terrible economic crisis that is still not fully resolved. but i also saw so much disagreement and argument about what we were doing and what we stood for and what were the right decisions, and one particular moment i write about in the book happened when i was in hong kong in july of 2011, during the first serious effort by some in the congress to default on our debt. and i had a pre-existing speech, and there were all these asian
business leaders there and they flood line to say to me, what is happening in washington? what is questioning on there? is the united states really going to default on its debt? i said, oh, no, of course not. we'll figure it out. we'll work our way through the politics of it, and had my fingers crossed behind my back. what i noticed on the first occasion was bee willed -- bewilderment, confusion, how can a great country do this to itself? this is about paying debts they already voted for whether they agreed with it or not. it was voted for. fast forward to last fall and we had the government shutdown that prevented the president from going to an important meeting in asia, where the president of china, president putin of russia, they were there, and the united states was absent. and once again, talking seriously about defaulting on the debt. i asked my team to give me the
news coverage about what people were saying around the world, particularly in asia and not exclusively, europe and latin america, and it was contempt. how can you trust the americans? they can't even run a government anymore. one chinese official said, time to dee -- deamericannize the world. those are consequential assessments of us because we cannot be strong abroad if we're not strong at home. we cannot continue to try to argue for and implement a rules-based order in the global economy where people have to play by the rules and where there are measures of accountability if they don't. if we can't demonstrate our economy is working for everybody. so, the book is about my time as secretary of state, but i carried with me all of my life experiences.
so, i'm not ready to stop and think about legacy because i want to keep thinking about what my life has meant to me and what my obligations are to my grandchild, and everyone else. and i'm going to do that through the work at the clinton foundation and other ways. but it is -- [laughter] [applause] [applause] [cheers and applause] >> i will hasten to add, it is a question and a responsibility for all of us, and a hard choice, and a very hard choice. and it is a very hard choice but i think all of us have hard
choices about what kind of citizen we're going to be, what we're going to ask of our leaders and what we'll ask of yourselves and what has always made us strong as americans goes back to that incredibly astute observation of detoke veil when he tried to understand what the country was about and he looked at how we organized ourselves and our new democracy and the institutions we were building and he said it came down to the habits of our heart, and i think we have to ask yourselves what it means today to be an american in the 21st century, and what we expect from each other, what we expect from our government, what we expect from our businesses, our academic institutions, because i am more optimistic and confident about what our potential is, but i know we have some hard choices to make to try to realize that. so thank you. [applause]